The best distilleries in Ireland

photo by Yves Cosentino

Guinness is maybe the most emblematic drink in Ireland, but whiskey is not far behind. Irish whiskey is drunk on rocks or in mixes (the famous Bailley’s whiskey cream comes to mind), but in any form it is enjoyed by many people in Ireland and abroad. Irish whiskey comes in several types: single malt, single grain or blended, and it is distilled in many places all over the country. If you want to sample Irish whiskey, why not take a tour of the best distilleries in Ireland? As the Irish say, ‘have a drop of the craythur’ for some guaranteed craic.

The Old Jameson Distillery, Dublin

John Jameson established his distillery on Dublin’s Bow Street in 1780, and in the 19th century it was already internationally known as one of the best Irish whiskeys. Although currently the whiskey is distilled in Cork, the old distillery in Dublin is still standing and can be visited. You will be show the process of whiskey production, and the tour ends with a whiskey tasting, of course!

Kilbeggan Distillery, Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath

This small pot distillery has a license dating back to 1757 (it is still valid, of course), and stopped functioning in 1957, but was reopened for business in 2007. Right now, Kibeggan whiskey is already being produced, but it won’t be on the market until 2014. In the meantime, you can visit Lockes Distillery Museum located at the distillery, and admire the old machinery. There’s a restaurant on site, and you can also taste different whiskeys.

Cooley Distillery, Riverstown, Cooley, Co. Louth

Cooley is the only independent Irish whiskey distillery in Ireland, and it used to be a potato alcohol plant until 1987. Cooley is trying to revive historical Irish whiskey brands as well as traditional methods, but they also created some unique brands like the Connemara Peated Single Malt – inspired by an ancient Irish tradition. Guided tours are

photo by Joseph Mischyshyn

available, but you have to book in advance.

Old Bushmills Distillery, Bushmills, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

Bushmills have been distilling whiskey for over 400 years (under one name or another), and the distillery is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. It is the oldest licensed, and one of the best distilleries in Ierland and the entire world, and it has a wide range of whiskeys that even the most critical connoisseur will appreciate.

Middleton Distillery, Middleton, Co. Cork

This is another old distillery, dating back to 1820’s, which has merged with several other distilleries and produces some of the most famous brands in Ireland. The old distillery has some beautifully restored machinery and visitors can see a step by step breakdown of the production process, plus get a tasting at the end of the tour.

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